Sunday, March 11, 2012

Playing Chicken

We live in a semi-rural place and our neighbor recently acquired chickens for her yard. Now when I say, "chicken", what comes to mind? Is it a proud white-feathered, orange legged, red-crowned creature that scratches around in the yard? That's what I was expecting...until I saw these. "Japanese Silkie" are the name of these elegant chickens and they are as fancy looking as their name. To me they are the high-fashion feathered city-cousins of Foghorn Leghorn. Think irridescent black or powder puff white...and no bare orange legs here...these creatures have their spurs nicely concealed with fine frills of feathers. And their red crowns are overrun with feathers every which-way like some long-gone 80's band!

Now my neighbor was worried that her two roosters, pictured here, would disturb our mornings. We do hear them, but they seem like they are way off in the distance. The resident Mocking bird and woodpecker are more obnoxious than they!

One morning I was checking my email and I heard one of the roosters call to the world, "Get up! It's time to start the day!" But as I let the call linger in my heart I heard another call to action, "Do not deny me today!" And the conversation with God began...

You see there is another rooster in the New Testament that made a huge impact on one of Jesus' disciples, Peter. He was a very devoted follower of Christ...He is the one who stepped onto the stormy sea and walked to Jesus on water. He was a strong leader, ready for anything.

Jesus warned him about all hell breaking loose, "...stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. ...I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out." (Luke 22:31)

But Peter, being a devoted guy and so sure of that devotion said, "Master, I'm ready for anything with you. I'd go to jail for you. I'd die for you!"

Sadly Jesus answered: "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me." (For the rest of the story, check out Luke 22.)

So this is the context in which my heart was pinging me...remember Peter, remember the rooster...and I thought, I wouldn't deny Christ! Would I? If someone came up to me and asked me if I knew Christ I would tell them...I had before. Why did I feel this warning buzzer going off? And I listened to what the Holy Spirit was teaching me...

There are more ways to deny Christ than just flat out saying you're not a Christian. There are subtle ways to deny Him. If you think about it, your actions speak so much louder than words.

What do you do when an off-color joke is told? Do you smile or laugh with the rest of the group? How about when you are home alone with the tv remote, do you go to that channel that should be blocked? Or maybe that website that you happened to click on one sent you an email, beckoning you to see some pictures you wouldn't let your own mother see. (Ephesians 5:4)

How about your wallet? Do you have money for that new upgraded gadget, but when the offering at church comes around you toss in a $20? How many mortgages do you have on your house or how many credit cards do you have with balances--and for what? A huge house that is hard to keep clean and nobody comes to because you are working multiple jobs to make all those payments? (Proverbs 22:7)

What about relationships? Is there a person who has rubbed you the wrong way and you have banished them from your presence? Did they do something that you know is wrong or hurt your feelings so you've locked them in your prison of unforgiveness? (Matthew 6:15)

Dear reader, listen to the rooster crowing in your life. Do not deny Christ by your actions...It's easy to go with the flow, or keep up with the Joneses or shut someone off.

When you toy with the idea that, "Yeah I can do all that stuff and God will still forgive me" are playing chicken with the devil my friend...and his aim is to separate you from Christ.

Listen carefully, your pride is crowing my friend!

You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. Ephesians 5:8-10 (MSG)